Visit Pierre Hermé's new concept store in Paris
26 December 2017
Unique location, 86Champs brings together in one address the worlds of two iconic French houses, Pierre Hermé and L'Occitane. Neither quite one nor quite the other, the concept-store designed by interior designer Laura Gonzalez plays the osmosis of the signs rather than their collaboration. The occasion of a conversation with the Parisian pastry chef.
It started a long time ago. This is the story of a meeting with Olivier Baussan more than 20 years ago. Olivier is one of those beautiful encounters where everyone has the impression of having known each other forever. Since then, we have not left. We spend a lot of time together. It was he who made me discover Corsica that I like so much today. He also introduced me to Reinold Geiger, the president of Occitane. The latter had in mind for some time to open a place on the Champs-Elysees. He proposed this project a little crazy. We were crazy enough to say yes.
How would you describe this project?
This is neither a place quite Occitane, nor a place quite Pierre Hermé. It's a concept store. A unique experience of its kind. A singular place illustrating the osmosis of two houses united around common values. That's why we named this place 86. We needed a generic name. The number of his address was ideal.
That it was great to open a place on the Champs-Elysées where you could find pastries, macaroons, chocolates, with new proposals such as "minute" desserts or coffee initiation. It is an extremely symbolic address for a brand. A great crossing place mixing Parisians, foreigners, provincials ...
The Champs Elysees is also where your experience at Ladurée, installed opposite, began 20 years ago ... It's the chance of life?
It's completely the chance of life. I did not try to settle there. It happened naturally.
This is your first tea room in your own name?
In Paris, yes. There is already a Pierre Hermé tea salon in Tokyo. But it's the first one that offers a salty menu.
Of course, there are all the pastries of Pierre Hermé's house. The typology of the place to go further, I worked on a more dense dessert menu with new experiences. There is for example, the millefeuille "minute" made in front of the customer, the frozen cuts, the desserts to be drunk as well as an invitation to be initiated "with the taste, the texture and the temperature" with an instant dessert that I particularly like it. It's for two and made at your table by a Pastry Chef. Customers will be able to make beautiful pictures ...
Ah, have you imagined Insta-friendly cakes?
Oh yes, that's right, it's a highly unstoppable dessert!
You were talking about a salt card now ...
I wanted a very simple card with 6 starters, 6 dishes, like quiches, croque-monsieurs, a club sandwich, pie and omelettes. But on the map, the point is clear enough, we first desserts and to accompany them, there are some salty dishes.
Not to mention the extremely comprehensive breakfast card ...
I had a lot of fun imagining this card. More or less Parisian, more or less detox, more or less vegetarian ... It is very varied, yes. I wanted to answer all the desires. A tip, try the tasty milk with soy milk. It is really delicious. For the most skeptical, I challenge them to guess that this is not cow's milk.
Olivier Baussan had the idea to contact Laura Gonzalez. What she offered us immediately pleased us. It was both modern and warm. On the Champs-Elysees and especially for this place, we could not imagine anything else. L'Occitane and Pierre Hermé are two brands that evoke heat. It was really nice and easy to work with her. She is very open. She also has a great ability to bounce from one idea to another. She never shines. With her, there are always solutions.
Maybe that's why we get along well, actually.
If you had to describe the Occitane universe in one word?
Laura Gonzalez ?
Modern and warm
Finally Pierre Hermé house?
Nature, modern and warm, with taste ... We have everything?
Yes, it's a good summary of what 86 is.
Who would you dream of returning to 86?
All foodies around the world I imagine.
86Champs - L'Occitane & Pierre Hermé, 86 avenue des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris